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Everything You Need to Know About Cambric Fabric

By: Arushi Gujral 22 Nov, 2017


If you aren’t familiar with a fabric called ‘cambric’, this is a must-read for you! A  woven, lightweight and pure cotton fabric, cambric was first manufactured in a place called Cambrai in France. Jean Baptiste Chambray, a native weaver, is said to have invented it in 1300.

Cambric Fabric



In its original form, cambric is a beautiful linen fabric. In the late 1500s, you could find the use of printed cambric in all kinds of bands and cuffs in fashion-forward cities like London.

With changing times, cambric started to be made from select Egyptian or American cotton, and the yarns would range from anywhere between 60 to 80 counts. The fine cotton or linen fabric is traditionally treated so that it acquires a slightly glossy appearance. It may be piece dyed or bleached and is lint free and quite mercerized.


How Cambric Fabric is Made


Cambric fabric is weaved in a slightly different way as compared to other fabrics. It usually involves the weaving of twisted, short linen or cotton fibres. These fibres are typically raw i.e. neither dyed nor bleached.

As mentioned earlier, tight weaving is a characteristic feature of cambric fabric and lends a smooth appearance to the final product. The weaving of the fabric is followed by a process called ‘calendering’. This technique involves passing the fabric through heated rollers. It is this process that makes the fibres tighter and lends a stiff and glossy appearance to the cambric fabric. You will be surprised to know that good quality cambric fabric is capable of retaining its glossiness and stiffness for years, regardless of fabric ageing. 

How Cambric Fabric is Made


Cambric is an excellent fabric for embroidery and lacework (because it is highly dense). It is called ‘batiste’ when utilized for such handiworks.

So what kind of clothing is made from cambric fabric? This usually depends on the quality of the cambric fabric. It is commonly used in the manufacturing of a variety of different readymade clothes such as women’s tops, gowns, dresses, men’s shirts and other garments. 

Lower-quality cambric works well for making products like linings, napkins, innerwear and handkerchiefs. It is also sometimes used as the backing material for needle works and artworks. 


Is there a diffrence between Cambric and Chambray?


A distinction is sometimes made between chambray, batiste and cambric. However, cambric is no longer available in an assortment of colours, as it once used to be. This means that there isn’t any significant difference between cambric and chambray. The weaving of chambray is also different and involves a pure white warp and coloured weft. 

Since natural fibres are used for making cambric, you need to be careful while handling garments made from this material. The good news is that you can easily launder cambric because it is capable of holding its shape. In fact, you can set your machine to sixty degrees when washing cambric clothing. It is best to avoid using a hot iron when eliminating creases from your cambric garment. A medium temperature iron works best!


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